Cold weather can lead to sniffling, sneezing, headaches and coughing. But the culprit may not be a virus. If your symptoms last more than 2 weeks – you’re probably suffering from seasonal allergies. Learn where allergens might be hiding in your home.
Culprit: Bedroom Bookshelf
Solution: Move the Shelf to Another Room
Your books and collectables aren’t the only things on your shelves – winter allergens are lingering there as well. Bookshelves collect dust and mites that can trigger symptoms like itchy eyes, congestion and sore throat. You can get some relief by cleaning thoroughly at least once a week, but if you need a more permanent solution, it’s best to remove the bookshelf from your bedroom entirely.
Culprit: Refrigerator Door Seal
Solution: Clean the Door Seal Weekly
Every time you open and close your refrigerator, mold spores that have collected in the door seal are released into the air. As spilled liquids and food crumbs find their way into the crevices of this rarely cleaned germ-zone, mold begins to grow, flourish and trigger your allergies. You can kill these mold spores and relieve your symptoms with a weekly cleaning. For best results, wipe the seal down with eco-friendly bleach, using cotton swabs to get into the crevices where food, mold and dust collect.
Culprit: Excess Indoor Humidity
Solution: Keep Your Home’s Humidity Level Between 30% and 50%
If you use a humidifier to ease the irritating effect dry winter air can have on your nose and throat, be careful you aren’t unintentionally creating the ideal environment for the spread of allergens. Excess moisture in the air encourages the growth of both mold and dust mites. The humidity level in your home should be between 30% and 50% to ward off these allergens. A $10 humidity monitor can help track the moisture level in your home.
Culprit: Heating Vent
Solution: Change Heating Filters Every 3 Months
When the furnace turns on, it doesn’t just circulate warm air around the house – it spews out all the dust, mold and insect parts that have collected in the heating vents. If left unattended, this problem can lead to an entire season of headaches, sneezing and coughing. The solution is a simple one: heating vent filters should be high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters when possible, and should be changed at least once every 3 months.